1st Edition

Jung's Ethics Moral Psychology and his Cure of Souls

By Dan Merkur, Jon Mills Copyright 2017
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume presents the first organized study of Jung's ethics. Drawing on direct quotes from all of his collected works, interviews, and seminars, psychoanalyst and religious scholar Dan Merkur provides a compendium of Jung’s thoughts on various topics and themes that comprise his theoretical corpus—from the personal unconscious, repression, dreams, good and evil, and the shadow, to collective phenomena such as the archetypes, synchronicity, the psychoid, the paranormal, God, and the Self, as well as his contributions to clinical method and technique including active imagination, inner dialogue, and the process of individuation and consciousness expansion. The interconnecting thread in Merkur's approach to the subject matter is to read Jung’s work through an ethical lens.   

    What comes to light is how Merkur systematically portrays Jung as a moralist, but also as a complex thinker who situates the human being as an instinctual animal struggling with internal conflict and naturalized sin. Merkur exposes the tension and development in Jung’s thinking by exploring his innovative clinical-technical methods and experimentation, such as through active imagination, inner dialogue, and expressive therapies, hence underscoring unconscious creativity in dreaming, symbol formation, engaging the paranormal, and artistic productions leading to expansions of consciousness, which becomes a necessary part of individuation or the working through process in pursuit of self-actualization and wholeness. In the end, we are offered a unique presentation of Jung’s core theoretical and clinical ideas centering on an ethical fulcrum, whereby his moral psychology leads to a cure of souls.  

    Jung’s Ethics will be of interest to academics, scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of Jungian studies and analytical psychology, ethics, moral psychology, philosophy, religious studies, and mental health professionals focusing on the integration of humanities and psychoanalysis.  

    Editor’s Introduction

      1. Jung’s Moral Psychology 
      2. Cure of Souls
      3. The Creativity of Dreams
      4. Having it Out with the Unconscious
      5. Jung’s Individuation Process
      6. Consciousness and its Expansion

    About the Author & Editor


    Dan Merkur, PhD was a psychoanalyst and religious studies scholar in private practice and a faculty member at the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Living Institute.  He was also a visiting scholar in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and had taught religious studies at five universities in the United States and Canada prior to his clinical training. His principle publications are in various areas of psychoanalysis, the psychology of religion, and the history of religion. This is his fifteenth and final book.     

    Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP is a philosopher, psychoanalyst, and clinical psychologist. He is Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis at the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto and is the author of many works in philosophy, psychoanalysis, psychology, and religion including seventeen books. He runs a mental health corporation in Ontario, Canada.

    "Dan Merkur was a scholar of religious studies who knew Freud better than almost anyone else in the discipline. In mid-career he left the discipline to become a professional psychoanalyst. In his final years he turned to Jung. In Jung’s Ethics, Merkur ties ethics to the whole of Jung’s psychology. Where most writers on Jung are in no position to match up Jung with Freud, Merkur does so handily. Jung's ethics prove to be another effort at achieving individuation. An exhilarating book."-Robert A. Segal, Sixth Century Chair in Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen; editor of Jung on Mythology and The Gnostic Jung.

    "A strong, determined, sensitive exploration of Jung’s writings on ethics and the role it plays in the quality and work of consciousness. Merkur’s final book gives detailed exegeses of Jung’s texts with extended suggestions of the importance of God and ethics in human experience and nature of the self. In so doing, he furthers the Freud-Jung dialectic, opening rich perspectives for reflection. Thanks to Jon Mills for completing the edit of this volume after Merkur passed away, receiving the manuscript on the latter’s deathbed. A compendium of rich and committed thought profoundly affirming the human spirit."-Michael Eigen, author of The Psychoanalytic Mystic and Faith

    "It is sadly perplexing how the late Dan Merkur’s extensive and ingenious contributions to both religious studies and psychoanalysis have not received the attention they most certainly deserve. In his final book on Jung’s ethics, Merkur explores the clinical significance of Jung’s shadow work and forges an original rapprochement with Freudian and ego psychological approaches. True to style, the work is insightful, erudite, and far reaching."-Keith Haartman, author of Watching and Praying.

    'The connections made between Jung and Freudians is of great value for those who think they already know the Swiss psychologist. Merkur places Jung in a wide context, referring not only to S. Freud and A. Freud, but to D.W. Winnicott, S. Ferenczi, A. Adler, A.E. Maeder, and E. Bleuler. Readers also get a sense of Jung's place in history, including his connections to Hegelianism, European Christianity, and the late nineteenth-century's interest in the occult and eastern practices such as yoga. Readers previously unfamiliar with Jung may end up more confused than less as to what precisely the Swiss stood for. Yet this is not a problem with Merkur's analysis so much as it is a truthful portrayal of the thought and practice of the Swiss doctor.

    How is Jung’s Ethics useful for practitioners? While no case studies or other clinical examples are provided, Merkur’s clarity and extensive use of Jung’s writings make this book a quick and efficient reference for counselors unfamiliar with analytical psychology. Jung read widely on theology, mythology and philosophy, but never lost sight of the individuals he treated. Merkur makes this clear, and shows how Jung’s insights can continue to bear fruit for clinical counselors.' -----Journal of Pastorial Care & Counseling

    'Merkur is praised for recognizing Jung’s priority at countering Freud’s position that the unconscious cannot think about the ethical conflicts that are experienced by the ego.' ---John Beebe, International Journal of Jungian Studies

    'In Jung’s Ethics, Dan Merkur, a psychoanalyst in Toronto and the author of many books on the Inuit, psychoanalytic theory, mysticism, and drug-induced religious experience, here writes for the first time on Jungian psychology. Merkur is not abandoning Freud for Jung. A Freudian he remains. But he seeks to contrast Jung positively to Freud. Merkur draws scores of contrasts. Some of them are already known, some not. But even when the contrasts are known, Merkur illuminates them. He is especially concerned with the difference between Freud and Jung on the relationship of psychology to religion. Where Freud seeks to replace religion by psychology, Jung seeks to make psychology itself religious. Whether Jung in fact succeeds in tying psychology so tightly to religion, as Merkur contends, is considered.'---Robert A. Segal, International Journal of Jungian Studies

    Jung’s Ethics, with its meticulous analysis of the primary texts of Jung and his psychoanalyst colleagues from different schools (as in the excellent third chapter in which the author compares Jung’s interpretation of dreams with that of Stekel, Adler, Maeder, and Freud) backs Sonu Shamdasani’s criticism of the "Freudocentric legend . . . which viewed Freud and psychoanalysis as the principal source for Jung’s work" (Jung 2009, 11; Shamdasani 2010). This is a book that every Jungian and non-Jungian psychoanalyst should have on their shelf since it differs from the hagiographic tone that is still present in many studies of Jung’s work and offers a fresh and intelligent assessment of Jung’s theoretical achievements and shortcomings. After finishing Merkur’s remarkable book, I felt that we Jungians have the moral duty to be as charitable and respectful of Freudian concepts as Merkur has been toward ours.’Giovanni Colacicchi, Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche